By Stephanie Booth
Posted December 11th 2018
While a nagging cough is a telltale sign, the symptoms of lung cancer can be more subtle than you think.
You likely know by now that smoking cigarettes is linked to nearly 80 to 90 percent of lung cancer deaths in the United States. But here’s the thing: Lung cancer-a disease in which abnormal cells clump together to form a tumor that begins in the lungs-is the most common cancer worldwide and is still the leading cancer killer of both men and women in the U.S, even surpassing breast cancer in women. That means up to 20 percent of people who die from lung cancer have never even smoked at all, according the American Lung Association.
So what other causes of lung cancer are there? Exposure to radon (an odorless gas found in homes) is often to blame, explains Robert McKenna, Jr., MD, a thoracic surgeon at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, California. Other possible culprits include air pollution, secondhand smoke, and environmental hazards like asbestos.
That’s why understanding and being able to spot the symptoms of lung cancer is so important. Oftentimes, people aren’t on the lookout for them because they’re not a smoker-and by the time the telltale signs of lung cancer appear, like chest pain and a nagging cough, the cancer has likely spread to a more advanced, harder-to-treat stage.
Although there are plenty of less sinister reasons for the following symptoms to crop up, play it safe and discuss them with your doctor-especially if you notice them persisting. Here are nine lung cancer symptoms everyone should know.